Updated: Aug 27, 2020
As most couples know, the photographs are one of the biggest parts of the wedding day. Without the keepsakes from your big day, your wedding's details and the little moments can fade from memory (especially if you're a twin mom, like me - my brain will only hold so much these days). That's why it is so, so important to not only hire a photographer you trust but to discuss with that photographer which pictures/moments are the most important to you, because every couple has different priorities.
For some brides, the "must have shot list" includes pictures of her and her dad sharing a first look. For some grooms, he needs a generational photo of himself with his dad, nephew, and grandfather to consider the picture portion a success. For others a sunset shot (weather pending) is a must.
The challenge is deciding which shots you're going to ask your photographer to try to capture. Keep in mind - there is no guarantee your photographer will be able to captuer everything on your list. Sometimes wedding days don't go exactly as planned - but if you discuss ahead of time which shots mean the most to you and work with your photographer to create a timeline that allows for those shots to happen that is the best way to help ensure you get them. His reaction during the first look is more of a priority than seeing you in those photos? Tell them that.
With a ton of options at your disposal, it's hard to narrow the ideas down into a handful of snaps. Personally, I tell my couples to create two Pinterest boards (if they are a Pinterest kind of couple). The first - every single shot you love ever. Send me that link - because it gives me an idea of the kinds of photos you are pinning over and over again (like far away landscape style shots of the couple in the distance versus close up and intimate shots).
Then I ask them to narrow it down to their top 10 "I would be disappointed if we didn't grab one of these," shots and put it in a new Pinterest Board well before the timeline is finalized so I can help the couple plan when we would do those shots. For me? I would absolutely be crushed if there wasn't a single photo of the twins and I by ourselves snuggled up under my veil. For others? They would be crushed if there wasn't a photo of their hand with their mother and grandmother's hands all together. Or a photo of their shoes (since the dress covers them most of the day even if they love them and took time choosing the perfect pair).
Remember, your photographer will take as many as physically possible, but the last thing you want is to view them and think, "I wish we had asked them to grab a shot of XYZ." We aren't mind readers, but we are darn good listeners! While we can, for the most part, guess which images you are going to want and while we do a great job anticipating shots you don't know you want but will be thankful we got... it helps us if you share your "top shot" idea list. You don't need to tell a photographer who is a true professional to remember to grab the "usual" shots, like the couple's first kiss or a shot of the bride and her mother, but you do want to let them know if something unique is going on for sure.
With that in mind, check out the four types of pictures your photographer already knows to take that you can make "your own" by planning ahead.
The Getting Ready Action Shots
The incredible thing about an action shot is that it encapsulates the energy of the room. During the getting ready process I mostly tell my clients to ignore me and pretend I'm not in the room. Aside from highlighting the moments before you both walk down the aisle, it also showcases how excited and nervous you are in equal measure. When you look back at these shots, the feelings of anticipation and nervousness will come rushing back.
By all means, plan to have a few organized snaps with props, but let your photographer blend into the background and pick up on the things that you don't recognize. One of my favorite "planned" getting ready shots? The makeup artist doing her "final touches" somewhere where the lighting is perfect. Or shots of the bride looking up at her dress as it hangs on a wall.
By rings, you should include all of them, not just your engagement ring. I always remind my couples of this a few days before the wedding so that the groom's band and the bride's band aren't in two very different locations before the wedding. While the engagement ring is going to be the focal point because, sparkly, the other rings are what the day is about. All three matter and Your Diamond Guru (https://yourdiamondguru.com/reviews/tiffany/) points out that some people buy their rings (all three) with the photos in mind.
After all, a Tiffany band or a custom setting is tough to beat when it comes to how photogenic they are (though a good photographer could make a quarter-machine ring look amazing). There are several ways to get creative and SLR Lounge has several recommendations for ideas including using a reflective surface or, my personal favorite, the floral bouquet.
Detail shots are my favorite.
& I always encourage my couples to gather up anything they think they might want in a shoe box so that I can work my magic.
Walking Down The Aisle
The bride walking down the aisle hand-in-hand with her Dad or her brother or her mother is the most iconic shot of any wedding. Let's face it - she's the center of attention in that moment, so it makes sense to capture her as all eyes turn to her. There's nothing like the emotions on the faces of the wedding party. Some will laugh, others will smile encouragingly, and there will be some who cry with happiness. Whatever the gestures, it's inevitable that this will be a favorite memory of the happy couple. Have your wedding planner or the person walking you down the aisle fluff and straighten your veil and the train of your dress - because this is their big moment, too.
PS; the groom walking down with his mom? Just as important of a moment to be captured.
The Last Kiss
It's usually the firsts that people think of when they think of their "must have shot list." The first dance, the first time you see each other in the venue, the first kiss. While these are incredible moments, there's nothing like the last smooch before you leave. The photos are mostly about the buildup to the ceremony and speeches, and then things calm down. However, the entire day is something you should try and remember (and something worth being captured by your photographer), there's nothing like a kiss at the end of the night to complete the most perfect day ever.
Whether that's under sparklers or confetti while you're surrounded by your friends and family or during a "last dance" that you have together after everyone else leaves the venue to get ready for the exit or somewhere fun at the venue before you head out. It's the best way to end the wedding.
[Disclaimer - some content within this blog post was in part a collaboration with a blogging company who compensated me monetarily for including links and some content/ideas and some links included are for companies/clients they represent while others are local companies I felt were good examples of things the blog post content discussed.
All photographs provided are mine.]